Reflections on... Week Two.

Reflections on... Week Two.

Tomorrow will mark two full weeks on the road! It's crazy to think of how much I've already seen. I've been to Oregon countless times before, but this was the first visit where I spent significant time in Southern and Central Oregon. The best part? I haven't had to drive on the I-5 this whole week. 

After leaving Ashland, I spent a night in Medford. Thanks to my growing little side project, I partnered with Travel Medford for two days of exploring. The lead photo is of me ziplining with Rogue Valley ZipLine Adventure. This was my third time ziplining but my first in the United States and I couldn't help but laugh at the difference in safety procedures from my times in Zambia and Laos.

 First comped room! Got to stay at Medford's Inn at the Commons, which is a renovated 1960's motor inn. With a pool :)

First comped room! Got to stay at Medford's Inn at the Commons, which is a renovated 1960's motor inn. With a pool :)

 Stopped by Central Point's Rogue Creamery for a delicious blue cheese grilled cheese sandwich. David Ledger Winery is right next door - the wine and grilled cheese went perfectly together. :) 

Stopped by Central Point's Rogue Creamery for a delicious blue cheese grilled cheese sandwich. David Ledger Winery is right next door - the wine and grilled cheese went perfectly together. :) 

 An epic ice cream sandwich from Lille Belle Farms. One of the best I've ever had. And I've had more than my fair share. 

An epic ice cream sandwich from Lille Belle Farms. One of the best I've ever had. And I've had more than my fair share. 

 I was completley overwhelmed by this basket of goodies! Everything is locally made from Southern Oregon and I got to enjoy it at Del Rio Vineyards, a beautiful winery located right on the Rogue River. 

I was completley overwhelmed by this basket of goodies! Everything is locally made from Southern Oregon and I got to enjoy it at Del Rio Vineyards, a beautiful winery located right on the Rogue River. 

After my time getting spoiled ended, I made my way to Crater Lake via Rogue River - Siskiyou National Forest. I ended up camping here instead of at Crater Lake as I realized that while only 30 minutes away from the national park, the substantial elevation difference made it a lot warmer at night. And, there's nothing I hate more than being cold. I was asleep by 9PM and woke up at 8AM, so I think I made a good decision :) 

 Camped right near here. This would be a dream home. 

Camped right near here. This would be a dream home. 

This was my second time at Crater Lake, but my first time hiking in the park. While Garfield Peak was technically close due to snow still on the trail, there were plenty of hikers pushing forward and I knew I didn't want to miss seeing the lake from above. 

 You know it's going to be fun when the trail signs are barely visable. 

You know it's going to be fun when the trail signs are barely visable. 

 View from the top! So magical. 

View from the top! So magical. 

 #SwipeRight

#SwipeRight

From Crater Lake, I ventured onward to Umqua National Forest. A few months ago, I discovered the Umqua Hot Springs on Instagram and knew I needed to visit at some point in the summer. While the springs have gotten more on the tourism map recently, they are famously known as a naked hippie hang out spot. Definitely an interesting mix of people, which thankfully included a group of girls my age who offered to take my photo. 

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The road from Umqua to Bend (my next destination) is filled with waterfalls. I spent the first half of the day chasing all of them. 

 I originally hated this photo (not all strangers know your best angle!) but decided to focus on how soaked I was and how genuinely happy I was when it was taken. I love it now. 

I originally hated this photo (not all strangers know your best angle!) but decided to focus on how soaked I was and how genuinely happy I was when it was taken. I love it now. 

One of the most liberating experiences of long-term travel for me is being okay with not knowing where I am going to sleep each night. As I've traveled more and more, I've come to learn that everything works out and sometimes it's entirely more fun to figure it out as you go instead of planning everything out before hand. It doesn't work for everyone, but it's something that makes me so happy. I stopped at a ranger station on my way to Bend and asked for some advice on where to spend the night. He told me about Paulina Lake, a place that I hadn't yet heard of. I'm so grateful for his suggestion as my hike to Paulina Peak was one of the most enchanting I've ever done. 

 From the top of Paulina Peak. From the right you can see lava from the Newberry Volcano (Paulina Lake is part of the Newberry Volcanic National Monument), East Lake, Paulina Lake and, if you look closely enough, the tops of Mt. Bachelor and the Three Sisters. 

From the top of Paulina Peak. From the right you can see lava from the Newberry Volcano (Paulina Lake is part of the Newberry Volcanic National Monument), East Lake, Paulina Lake and, if you look closely enough, the tops of Mt. Bachelor and the Three Sisters. 

 Spent the next afternoon casually falling in love with Bend. I loved every single moment of my time there. 

Spent the next afternoon casually falling in love with Bend. I loved every single moment of my time there. 

 Smith Rock State Park! This was my second visit here - the first was Fall Break of sophomore year. This photo was taken from the top of Misery Ridge. The hike was hard but not miserable. Also, shoutout to Smith Rock for having showers! My shower after this hike was my first in five days. 

Smith Rock State Park! This was my second visit here - the first was Fall Break of sophomore year. This photo was taken from the top of Misery Ridge. The hike was hard but not miserable. Also, shoutout to Smith Rock for having showers! My shower after this hike was my first in five days. 

From Smith Rock, I made my way to Portland. I spent my weekend with Kassel, one of my best friends from the Peace Corps. We were both health volunteers and our sites were in the same region. Kassel is an incredible Portland tour guide - this weekend was spent making strawberry pie with the berries we picked on Sauvie Island, eating delicious Israeli food, visiting the Portland Rose Garden, and taking her dog, Wolfie, for a hike in Portland's Forest Park. The highlight? The hour and a half we spent in Powell's on Saturday night. 

 freshly picked strawberries...

freshly picked strawberries...

 .... that turned into the most delciious (and beautiful) pie. 

.... that turned into the most delciious (and beautiful) pie. 

 A perfect rose. This would be an excellent time to remind people that Shoshana means "rose" in Hebrew. 

A perfect rose. This would be an excellent time to remind people that Shoshana means "rose" in Hebrew. 

 the happiest of places - Powell's Books. 

the happiest of places - Powell's Books. 

 pouring rain at the rose garden!

pouring rain at the rose garden!

Reflections on... Week 3.

Reflections on... Week 3.

Reflections on... Week One.

Reflections on... Week One.